The majority of the financial services industry has reached a level of parity for available products, with the bulk of the industry becoming a predictable cliché. Any investor can walk into an advisor’s office, bank or even a local insurance agency and have access to a similar range of products. Compounding this situation is the fact that investors have been deeply scarred after the last decade of weak results and are starting to rethink how they work with their advisor. The days of set it and forget it, or buy and hold are falling by the wayside. Clients have lived a different story and are demanding alternative investment solutions.
The three main roadblocks to overcome this situation can be called fog, smog and bog. Fog inhibits the ability of advisors to see anything other than what is right in front of them. Smog is another description for pollution. Investors are frightened by looking in the investment rearview mirror and they are allowing their attitudes to get polluted. Whether going online, watching TV or listening to the radio they are hearing a steady diet of negativity. Unfortunately this has polluted the minds of their advisors and pushed them deeper into the bog. A place where good ideas from the past are practiced by virtually everyone, such that everyone is using the same net and very few are catching fish. Worse yet, the future outlook for some of the usual suspects (GICs, mutual fund, segregated funds, etc.) are downright disheartening. Sadly, so much marketing and posturing has occurred that casting about for new solutions has advisors feeling like they are stuck in mud.